Lately, I've been dealing with a non-serious but annoying illness that refuses to let up. This might be the only October post.
I recently found an article on the "Twilight of the Gods" that is well worth a read. I think that Ragnarok is a very important subject, but for different reasons than may first be apparent. Quite frankly, it seems to me that the story of Ragnarok all to quickly becomes a distraction--or worse, an actual impediment to devotion. This effect is not limited to one "side" of the spectrum or another. I revere Loki, but if I want to add a jaw-ache to my already existing sickness, I need only read some of the individual Lokian takes on Ragnarok and on Balder in particular.
It is a beautiful thing to be passionate about one's Gods. I don't doubt for a moment that when one has a deep, personal connection with a Deity, one may share in profound and intensely emotional impressions and revelations. A devotee may be asked--or at least sincerely believe that he or she is being asked--to share these experiences. However, everything exists in its context. As Uncle Thor aptly puts it, our Gods and Goddesses are not big men and women in the sky. We may love and adore the very human sides They show us, but They are also Holy and Transcending.
Among us mortals, the Ragnarok tale can be a lot like Bolverk's hone. It can cause more grief than it is worth. Really, who benefits from understanding time as a linear march toward an inexorable apocalypse? Not us. Polytheists don't need a final purge. We don't live in an utterly lost and tainted Cosmos. John Michael Greer discusses this subject quite eloquently in his book "A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism." Meanwhile, some forms of strict monotheism do require annihilation. The wheat and the chaff must be separated.
We can toss about hypothesis after hypothesis on Ragnarok. Many of those hypotheses will be touched by all sorts of influences that have little or nothing to do with the Gods. Our Gods are wise. They are not short-sighted. They know--often far better than we do--what is required for balance. The way forward is to trust and respect Them in the here and now.